Covert Recordings Are Admissible
For some time employees have been covertly recording disciplinary and grievance hearings which has led to challenge from their employers. A recent Employment Appeal Tribunal case has held that both the public and private discussions of a disciplinary and grievance panel were admissible at the final Tribunal hearing. Therefore whilst you may have a policy that prohibits covert recording, you need to conduct hearings under the assumption that they are being recorded and could be used as evidence. This illustrates the importance of the accuracy of the notes taken and to avoid making inappropriate comments either to or about the employee which may be caught on tape.
Employment Tribunal Claims Update
The Ministry of Justice statistics for tribunals for the period October to December 2013 reveal a 79% drop in employment tribunal claims compared to the equivalent period in 2012. This is undoubtedly due to the impact of the fee paying regime that came into force on 29th July 2013 and a surge in the number of claims lodged immediately before the implementation of the fees. Levels of claims are now slowly increasing. Time will tell what the ultimate effect is.
Tribunal Fees To Increase
From 6th April 2014 the fees for some claims will increase. They are;
- – Equal pay
- – Sex equality in pension schemes
- – Failure to inform or consult under TUPE
- – Failure to allow compensatory rest under the Working Time Regulations 1998.
- – Breach of the right to request time off for training.
These were formerly Type A claims which attracted an issue fee of £130 and a hearing fee of £230. They will become Type B claims with an issue fee of £250 and hearing fee of £950.
National Minimum Wage Increases
From 1ST October 2014 the national minimum wage rates will increase as set out below;
- – Standard Adult Rate will increase from £6.31 to £6.50.
- – Development Rate will increase from £5.03 to £5.13.
- – Young Workers Rate will increase from £3.72 to £3.79.
- – Apprenticeship Rate will increase from £2.68 to £2.73.
Mandatory Early Conciliation
There will be a new duty on ACAS, employers and employees to attempt to conciliate. This is being brought in on a voluntary basis from 6th April 2014 but will apply to the majority of claims submitted on or after 6th May 2014. After that time most claimants will be unable to submit a Tribunal claim without a certificate from ACAS confirming that they have attempted conciliation.
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